Thursday, March 27, 2014

In The Original Japanese.

Japanese actor Shin'ichi "Sonny" Chiba has had a career lasting more than 50 years.  But he is best known in the West, besides his appearance in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1, for his role in the movie Gekitotsu! Satsujin Ken, released in North America as The Street Fighter.  Last night while looking at various things on YouTube I can across something I was hoping to find at some point, The Street Fighter with its original Japanese language track intact, and with English subtitles. 

I have no idea how truly accurate the English subtitles are in this version, but they definitely improve on the old US dub.  Certain things make a bit more sense than the mangled results in some places in the dub, like Tsurugi's motivations and exactly who the Hong Kong gang are.  It's also interesting to see some plot elements found in the English version, such as Tsurugi's mother being Chinese, may not be part of the original Japanese script.  Other bits are pretty much identical.  Of course it's still a '70s martial arts B movie, so don't expect this to suddenly be elevated to the lofty heights of Akira Kurosawa.

It's a common belief that North American moviegoers don't like subtitles.  I have no idea how correct that is, but I'm one person they don't bug.  I prefer to hear the actors as they originally sounded.  You also get a chance to pick up certain cultural things that a dub might ignore, such as the use of honourifics in Japanese. 

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